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The Daphne du Maurier Festival 2010
[Submitted by Ann Wilmore : 23 June 2010]
Well, the Daphne du Maurier festival of arts and literature 2010 ended yesterday evening and was enjoyed by many hundreds of people once again. David and I were in our two Bookends bookshops for much of the time and met up with lots of festival goers, both familiar and very welcome faces, and newcomers enjoying the festival for the first time. Every so often Joy and Sue, who work with us at Bookends, appeared and let us escape, so we were fortunate enough to get to some super events.
One of my favourites was the talk that Lady Vyvyan gave on the first afternoon of the festival about Clara Vyvyan, who was among other things a friend and travelling companion of Daphne du Maurier, Foy Quiller-Couch and other interesting women of her era.
I also really enjoyed the talk that Laura Varnam gave on Monday morning in the Town Hall about Daphne du Maurier's literary landscapes mainly in relation to The House on the Strand and Castle Dor.
David and I also enjoyed Sam North talking on the subject of 'Is Rebecca a Love Story?' – although everyone in the room could have told him that of course it isn't!
The play that The Varadi Foundation from Exeter University performed at the Fowey Hotel entitled 'Father but for the Grace of God', about Daphne and Gerald du Maurier was utterly beautiful, only available to small audiences, those who were fortunate enough to see it were in for an absolute treat, and we can only hope that The Varadi Foundation return next year so that more people can enjoy their performance.
Then on Thursday the Scary Little Girls hit town. This brilliant bunch of young actresses and entertainers were fabulous. They presented one of their Living Word Walks, which took people around Fowey, following clues, being entertained by surprise events and learning more about the town and about Daphne du Maurier. Then on Friday and Saturday they presented two evenings of story telling in The Ship Inn. We went to the Friday evening performance and were entertained with 'The Escort', Daphne du Maurier's haunting tale of an extraordinary supernatural event that takes place as sea during the Second World War, and then we rocked with laughter at 'The Supreme Artist'. How many people realise how funny Daphne du Maurier's writing can be.
Between us David and I also managed to see the plays 'Rumours' and 'The Birds', David saw The Zombies and Julian Lloyd Webber, I saw Pam Ayres and we both went to see Phil Hammond, all of which were excellent evenings which we thoroughly enjoyed. My only grumble is about the 'celebrities' who cancelled. One speaker was ill and to him I extend my sincere hope that he will make a good recovery, we know Dan Snow was called away by work commitments and was very sorry to let the festival down, but one or two others seem not to realise how disappointed people are when they have bought a ticket only to be told that their speaker is not coming after all and there appears not to be a good reason why.
Our thanks have to go to Kate Mackrell and Jonathan Aberdeen and the many other people who work so hard for this very special festival. I have already asked our dear Sam to write up a piece about his festival this year, as he has on many occasions in the past, and I would ask some of you who attended this year to add your comments here as well. We look forward to seeing you all next year.
Ann Wilmore
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